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beSocratic is an online assessment system focused on providing students with proper feedback and teachers with meaningful analysis.


Features

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Familiar Interface

The beSocratic Activity Authoring Tool is designed to resemble Microsoft Powerpoint. This provides teachers with a familiar interface to create activities. Activities can be saved to and loaded from the beSocratic database so the teacher may access them from any computer connected to the Internet. Teachers may also create rosters and set start and end dates for activities.

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Flexible Activities

beSocratic activities are composed of one or more activity steps. Each step is designed and developed using one or more modules such as SocraticGraphs, OrganicPad, GraphPad, Images, Videos, Text, Molecules and many others. By mixing and matching modules, teachers have to ability to ask students a wide variety of questions.

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Powerful Analysis

beSocratic contains a rich suite of analysis tools which allow teachers to replay and analyze student submissions. Instructors can play, pause, and scan through a replay of the student's work. This tool can provide insight into the cognitive processes of the students since the teacher can identify the points within a replay where students went astray. beSocratic also provides a summary tool which generates reports based on multiple student replays for a high level view of the class performance.

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beSocratic includes modules which allow students to respond with free-form input and have their drawings evaluated.


Free-form Drawing

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Socratic Graphs

SocraticGraphs allows the instructor to ask questions which require students to respond by drawing 2D graphs. SocraticGraphs analyzes raw student drawings by identifying their major components. SocraticGraphs provides to the students multi-tiered feedback based on teacher-provided rules.

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Organic Pad

The OrganicPad module focuses on drawing Lewis structures for chemistry students. OrganicPad allows users to draw Lewis structures intuitively using a stylus or their finger. Using handwriting recognition, the strokes are converted into formatted text and form an interactive molecular structure on the canvas.

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Graph Pad

The GraphPad module aims to help computer science students learn a variety of data structures. Using ink recognition, GraphPad converts student drawings into interactive nodes and edges that may be evaluated and analyzed.

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About

Motivation

In recent years, there has been a strong push to create pedagogical software that is able to interact independently with students and assist in their learning. These intelligent tutoring systems generally work by providing students with instructions, allowing students to respond to these instructions, and providing students with feedback based on their responses. However, being able to respond intelligently to student actions is a difficult task. Part of the problem is in the interface. Currently, the majority of intelligent tutoring systems rely on overly simplistic input methods such as multiple choice or fill in the blank questions. Research has shown that these question types result in poor student learning since students quickly learn to “game” the system into giving them the answer.

In addition to providing students with intelligent feedback, an ideal system would be able to provide teachers with valuable tools to quickly analyze and visualize student progress. Requiring teachers to inspect each student's submission is often too time-consuming for large class sizes. Instead, many intelligent tutoring systems generate shallow, summative reports which give overviews of student performance but are not able to give teachers deep information on student knowledge.

beSocratic

BeSocratic is an online assessment system focused on addressing these two goals, i.e. providing students with proper feedback and teachers with meaningful analysis. On the student side, BeSocratic is able to recognize student drawings and respond with meaningful feedback based on the drawings. On the analysis side, BeSocratic contains sophisticated clustering techniques which group students based on the similarly of their submissions. This allows teachers to only look at a small subset of student submissions and quickly get an overview of an entire class's understanding level.

BeSocratic was designed with flexibility in mind as teachers can create question sets using a variety of modules such as text, images, videos, multiple choice questions, text boxes, OrganicPads, and GraphPads. In addition, a major component of BeSocratic was developing a module to assess and provide feedback for axis-based graph drawings, SocraticGraphs. The abundance of graphs throughout science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields allows this software to be used in a large variety of courses.

BeSocratic is composed of three main tools: an activity creator, an activity viewer, and an analysis tool. The activity creator allows teachers to design, upload, and share BeSocratic activities for their students to complete. The activity viewer then allows students to log in and complete assigned activities. While the students are completing activities, BeSocratic records each action that is performed within the system. The analysis tool then allows teachers to view individual student replays as well as cluster students together who have performed similar actions within the system. This allows teachers to quickly see an overview of the thought processes of individual students as well as the class as a whole. Teachers can also attach feedback to a cluster and if BeSocratic detects that a new student is contained within the cluster, BeSocratic prompts the student with the feedback. This immediate intervention can be used to stop students at the source of their problems before they become worse.




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